On Monday, June 1, Saifur Rahman, Joseph R. Loring Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, will head to Richmond, Virginia, for the first meeting of the newly-formed Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. 

Rahman, internationally known for his research in alternate energy and smart grid systems, is the only university representative on the 12-member committee formed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Comprised of public and private sector stakeholders, the committee will develop strategies and recommendations to achieve the goal of a ten percent reduction in retail electricity consumption in the Commonwealth by 2020. 

This goal was originally recommended in the 2007 Virginia Energy Plan by then Governor Tim Kaine, and McAuliffe has accelerated the timeline of achieving this goal by two years to 2020.

“The energy sector is a key strategic growth area as we work to build a new Virginia economy, and improving energy efficiency is one of the real opportunities,” McAuliffe said. “I have put together this talented group of people to help ensure that we meet our goal in an accelerated time frame.”

The executive committee will be overseen by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Businesses grow and prosper when they are maximizing the efficient use of their resources,” said Jones. “This committee will provide guidance and recommend tools to help businesses increase efficient use of energy while reducing their energy costs. Energy efficiency is good for business, good for the environment, and good for the economy.”

Details of the role and duties of the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency can be found in the recommendations section of the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan.

“The work of this committee aligns well with what we are doing at Virginia Tech,” Rahman said. 

For example, the Advanced Research Institute, located at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington, was recently awarded nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue research and development of its Building Energy Management Open Source Software that would help make commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or less in size – which account for more than 90 percent of commercial buildings in the United States and 50 percent of the energy consumed each year – more energy efficient.

“I am very honored and pleased to be serving on this committee,” Rahman said. “And I believe that Virginia Tech can play a leadership role in helping the governor reach his goal by providing technical expertise and a road map for solutions.”

With Virginia Tech since 1979, Rahman also currently serves on the board of the Energy Efficiency Council, on the governing board of the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology; and serves as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Electrifications Magazine.

Rahman resides in McLean, Virginia. 

Serving with Rahman on the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency are:

  • Cynthia Adams of Charlottesville, Virginia, executive director, LEAP Virginia
  • Ken Barker of Richmond, Virginia, vice president, Technical Solutions, Dominion Virginia Power
  • Carol Davis of Blacksburg, Virginia, sustainability manager, Town of Blacksburg
  • Jim Fawcett of Charleston, West Virginia, manager, Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Initiatives, Appalachian Power Company
  • Bill Greenleaf of Richmond, Virginia, loan officer, Virginia Community Capital, Inc.
  • David Koogler of Hanover, Virginia, vice president, Customer Services, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
  • Angela Navarro of Charlottesville, Virginia, staff attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Michele Peterson of Richmond, Virginia, senior energy business consultant, Honeywell
  • Bill Prindle of Charlottesville, Virginia, vice president, ICF International
  • William Reisinger of Richmond, Virginia, assistant attorney general, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
  • Dana Wiggins of Richmond, Virginia, responsible lending coordinator, Virginia Poverty Law Center